Fearing the assassination of the PLO diplomat credited with...


BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Fearing the assassination of the PLO diplomat credited with winning Western European support for Palestinians may trigger new attacks, police have stepped up security measures for the Israeli and PLO missions, a government official said today.

Belgian police said the mystery killer who pumped six bullets into Naim Khader, 41, Monday has disappeared without a trace and they appealed for help in their search for the assassin, described as 'armed and dangerous.'


A spokesman for the prosecutors office discounted reports the assassin was a professional killer, saying, 'there is no practical evidence pointing in this direction.'

The Palestine Liberation Organization accused the Israeli secret service of the assassination. Israel said PLO factions kill each other and previous accusations against Israel had proved unfounded.

Fearing Khader's killing might trigger 'settlements of accounts' Belgian police increased security measures for the protection of the PLO office and the Israeli Embassy as well as of several Arab missions in Brussels, a government official said.


'This does not involve posting extra guards around the clock near the premises,' the official said. 'But police have stepped up patrols at irregular intervals.'

The killer pumped six bullets into Khader in front of his suburban Ixelles house, hitting him five times in the head and once in the heart. The assassin shook off pursuers, throwing away an umbrella and a raincoat as he fled.

The PLO representative in Brussels had been largely credited with establishing recognition of Palestinian rights by Western European governments.

Khader, a Brussels University law graduate appointed head of the Brussels' PLO office when it was set up in 1976, was the seventh PLO representative abroad killed since 1972.

Police broadcast an appeal for help over radio and television and issued a composite sketch of the presumed killer, showing him as between 35 and 40 years old with black hair and a mustache.

The PLO said Belgium had failed to provide protection Khader requested following tips that assassinations of PLO representatives were being plotted for various European capitals.

'In Paris, London, Rome, Madrid, Vienna and Bonn security measures were taken, but we regret to say that in Brussels this was not the case,' Abdallah Franji, PLO representative to Bonn, told a news conference. However, Belgian Interior Minister Philippe Busquin said there had been no request for special protection and a government source said Khader two years ago requested extra security be ended because it hindered his movements.


Busquin, worried about revenge, said, 'We want to prevent at all cost that this affair should lead to a settling of accounts.'

The Israeli embassy in Brussels said the PLO had blamed Israel in previous deaths of PLO diplomats, including the assassination of Ezzedine Kalak, the PLO representative in Paris in August 1978.

After that attack, in which deputy PLO representative Hammad Adnan was also killed, two Jordanians of Palestinian origin were sentenced to 15 years in jail by a French court.

Khader's Belgian-born wife said that during an Easter holiday in Jordan, her husband had looked toward the occupied West Bank and said, 'I think that in a year or two we can settle there.'

'My only wish now is that he may be allowed to rest there,' she said.

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